tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN July 31, 2013 1:00am-2:01am PDT
good evening. everyone, part two of our keeping them honest series. rehab racket, clinical operators billing taxpayers for a bundle and how teenagers who don't need rehab at all, they are being recruited to help, as you see, our investigation is getting results. also tonight, judgment day for private first class bradley manning. he leaked 750,000 classified documents and videos. the question is, how much damage did he really do? glenn greenwald, we'll talk to him tonight. and later, believe it or not, $136 million in stolen jewels was only the tip of the iceberg. we'll go inside a heist some are blaming for in cannes and more than 300 riffoffs, a gang known as the pink panthers.
it's a fascinating look. we begin with part two of our series, "rehab racket." shady rehab clinics filing bogus claims for phantom patients. now you it's happening in the state of california, but because it involves federal medicaid funding, we are all paying for it. nearly $186 million in state and federal tax dollars over just the last two years. the year-long investigation from cnn and the center for investigative reporting lays it all out. unscrupulous operators billing the government for bogus clients and getting away with it. in the wake of our reporting, we learned that 29 clinics have been temporarily suspended, cutting them off from state and federal money. and a state senator, who after seeing last night's report, is calling for a full audit of california's program. we'll talk to him shortly. but first, part two of the investigation. you teenagers say they were roped into the operation. drew griffin tonight, keeping them honest. >> reporter: outside this drug rehab center in southern california, teenagers from a group home are dropped off. but according to former employees of the pomona alcohol
and drug recovery center, many of the teens they saw come here over the years didn't have substance abuse problems at all. a one-year investigation by cnn and the center for investigative reporting found the drug medical program in california, which cost taxpayers over $6 billion over the last six is fiscal years is ripe with fraud. victoria says she was driven in a van every week with other teens while living in a group home to the health services in riverside, california. >> we used to do drug tests and they would teach us not to do ecstasy or not to do this drug or whatever. >> reporter: but byers, now 22 years old, thought it was strange because she didn't have a drug problem.
>> i told them, why should i be here? i have no drug issue. but i had to go because all the other girls had to go and they couldn't leave me at the hospital by myself. >> reporter: we obtained these documents showing where she signed her name, that's a requirement allowing rehab centers to bill the state. and signatures minute money. the more signatures, the more the medi-cal system reimbursed the clinic. michael mergets remembers the trips, as well. now in college, he says he also was driven in a van, each week with other teens, from a different group home. you never abused alcohol or prescription drugs? >> not at all. >> so all the time you spent there for three years, three years, was a waste of your time and a waste of taxpayer money? >> yes, definitely. >> reporter: that doesn't surprise demara sheera, a former manager at so cal in pomona with
the same operator. she estimated that 30% of the teens didn't have a drug or alcohol issue. so counselors just made them up. >> it took an audit for me to know how deep it was. how keep of fraud was going on there. >> reporter: other whistle-blowers came forward and claimed that co-cal was committing drug/alcohol fraud by labeling teens with fake addictions. riverside county officials told us they didn't have an easy way to prove that so cal was making up addictions. clinic's funding any way, because so many clients were dropping out. that forced so. cal to shut down. but the other clinic in the county remains open. just last year, a county report on pomona drug and alcohol recovery center found serious
distingui deficiencies in the program. the operator of both clinics is a man named tim agendu, who said the allegations came from disgruntled ex-employees. tim wouldn't tell us anything. drew griffin with cnn. >> who are you? >> reporter: i just told you. my name is drew griffin. wait a minute. your former employees say you're billing for the county services that you're not providing, sir. he soon left without talking to us. if you have nothing to hide, why are you taking off? we found case after case of rehab centers like pomona with a history of problems that are still allowed to keep billing the state. tamera askew is a former counselor at pride health services who claims she was told to bill for clients she didn't actually see. did you have client lists? >> i had a client list, yes. when i first got there, yeah, they gave me about 20 folders,
20 folders of clients that they had. >> reporter: did you ever account for the 20 cases that you had in your folders? >> no, i never could because -- >> reporter: you couldn't find them? >> some were in jail, one was dead. >> reporter: wait -- >> one was dead. >> reporter: and still a client? >> and still listed as a client. >> reporter: she says she confronted the operator of the clinic. >> i told godfreed, look, i don't know how you want me to bill for clients i don't see or have. and he told you, how do you think these lights are going to get paid? >> reporter: she says he then fired her. would you describe what you've been through as anything more than just throwing away taxpayer's money? >> it is -- yeah, it's just throwing away taxpayer's money. >> reporter: that was in 2009. regulators have found severe deficiencies at pride health services, from 2005 to 2011,
including evidence of ghost clients. two years ago, the county uncovered what appeared to be fraudulent documentation used for billing. a state auditor urged they be shut down. not only did pride stay open, it got even more medi-cal money. more than $1 million in a year. in its most recent investigation brought you by yet another employee accusing pride of billing for ghost clients, investigators found the allegations unsubstantiated, but found the operation extremely troubling, discovering missing paperwork, signed and dated waivers with no client information and missing treatment plans. despite that poor review, pride is staying open. if the county investigators couldn't find evidence of ghost patients, maybe they should do
what we did, go there on a wednesday when they are closed for treatment, but apparently still billing. we saw no one entering the facility on wednesdays. so we went in ourselves, with hidden cameras. do you have rehab going on today? >> no, monday, tuesday, thursday and friday. >> reporter: today is wednesday. there's no group today? >> no. >> reporter: even though it's closed for rehab, pride has been billing for clients on wednesdays, as these records show. including 60 on the day we went in with hidden cameras and found no clients there. he told the county two years ago that pride accepted responsibility for deficiencies. we went looking for him, seen in this police mug shot for an unrelated arrest in 2003. hi, drew griffin with cnn. how are you doing?
is godfrey in? >> he's right here. >> reporter: markita jones denied any wrongdoing. we wanted to ask about an investigation we're doing about ghost patients, people signing names, faking signatures and billing the state and the county for treatment that's not happening. do you know anything about that? >> no, i don't. because that's not going on at this office. >> reporter: godfrey has never asked you to sign a form that says all these patients came here and they didn't? >> no, sir, he did not. >> reporter: and you do the counseling yourself? >> yes, i do. and i actually see live clients. >> reporter: as we waited for them to show up, employees inside called police. they told us that the boss was coming and we've been camped out waiting for them to show up. then abruptly, shut down for the day. could he call back and say he's not coming?
we never heard from anyone at pride health services again. >> it's just unbelievable. one of the things that's most upsetting is despite repeated times that the county and state knows there's fraud going on, these things just stay open. >> reporter: right. what we're finding is a lack of oversight at a much higher level that we would like to get to the bottom of. the regulators, the inspectors, they are finding the fraud. report after report, they're finding the problems. the problem is, nothing ever happens. and we can't seem to figure out why, who is it in authority that is allowing, even after seeing these reports, that is allowing these clinics to not only stay open but to grow. >> i want to bring in california state senator ted lew. how concerned are you that auditors have been finding evidence of fraud for years, yet they've not only remained open but increased in value? >> i'm very concerned.
a few days ago i talked to my chief of staff about increasing funding to rehabilitation clinics, because i believe they're a vital tool to prevents jail and prison overcrowding and substance abuse. first, i was surprised how easy it was to commit freud. and second, i became very concerned that not only could i not request more funding, but that if we don't fix this fraud immediately, it would undercut the public support for this entire program. >> that's one of the things that are so terrible, because there are obviously people in need of rehab. it does help people and there are legitimate clinics out there. but without proper oversight, we don't know which ones are legitimate. i know on the program last night, you called for an audit on these drug rehab programs. what specifically do you want to see happen? >> so, you are correct, this
program has undoubtedly helped tens of thousands of people. over 60,000 people are treated through medi-cal. but i request an audit because i want to get to the bottom of what has happened. it's to the state auditor, which is an independent audit agency, separate from the executive branch, and i want to know how this happened for so long, how pervasive is fraud, and more importantly, what can we do to change laws and regulations so the fraud doesn't occur in the future. >> for 29 clinics they are temporarily suspended but only comes after we told the state what we were finding. what drew was finding. so can the people of california really trust the state audit is the question? >> i think it's a good step for the administration to suspend payments or shut down the clinics. but it's important to have a separate audit agency independent from the department in charge to conduct an audit, find out who knew what when, why something was not done sooner and how do we reduce the
weakness in the system and what laws or policies may need to be changed. >> drew, we're seeing some of these clinics suspended and shut down. do you think the state is serious? >> i think the state senator is onto something. it needs to be taken out of the agencies overseeing this, to have an independent audit, to look at the big picture of what is happening in terms of oversight. the investigators found the fraud, nothing was done. that's the bottom line as far as our reporting. as for whether or not the state, these agencies, the health agency is now serious about it, tomorrow night you'll see how hard it was for us to find that answer, anderson. and it was shocking for us to see state officials refusing to address the problem and refusing to address us. >> that's the thing, drew, as we've seen in so many of the investigations you've done, whether there is these bogus
charities for cancer and stuff, are in fact giving money to fund-raisers. if you have nothing to hide, they should grant you an interview. it's like cockroaches scurrying when you return on the lights. people are just running from you. >> that's absolutely right. keep in mind, we are trying to find out what happened to our money, our money. and these are state public officials, paid for with our money. so it's not outrageous what we're asking here. >> drew griffin, appreciate it. senator, thank you. we'll continue to follow your efforts as well. we'll look forward to drew's investigation. if you've got a tip for drew on this or any other subject, go to cnn.com/investigate. and let us know what you think tonight. follow me on twitter. @andersoncooper. also ahead, some early answers in that outbreak that's made a lot of people sick to their stomachs. we'll tell you which bug is to blame and how to avoid it. also tonight, the other big story tonight, private first class bradley manning accused of the biggest security leak in u.s. history, facing charges of aiding the enemy and life without parole. he hears from the judge today
. we'll tell you her verdict and the debate including glenn greenwald who says that washington's power brokers leak all the time, and they never pay the price. as an exclusive 5 in a it's clinically proven to hydrate dryness, illuminate dullness lift sagging diminish the look of dark spots and smooth the appearance of wrinkles together these 5 elements create ageless looking skin roc® multi correxion 5 in 1 it's high performance skincare™ only from roc®
find your away. for a dealer and the rv that's right for you, visit gorving.com. the sentencing hearing begins tomorrow for private first class bradley manning. a military judge today acquitting him of the most serious charge aiding the enemy for turning over 750,000 classified documents and videos. to the website wikileaks.
the judge, though, did convict manning of violating the espionage act. so he's still facing a maximum of 136 years. the manning case has touched off a serious debate over the harm that manning has done and whether the government initially overstated the damage. like the nsa leaker edward snowden, manning has been called a traitor by some, a hero by others. and frankly, everything in between. let's talk about it with senior analyst jeffrey toobin and "the guardian" paper. what ask your reaction? >> i thought it was a good verdict. i think the charge of helping the enemy was excessive and it was good the judge acquitted him of that charge. but i think what manning did was appalling. i think he betrayed his fellow members of the military, he betrayed the foreign service, and he should be going to prison and he will be. >> glenn, i know you disagree. >> i do. i think the verdict and jeff's
comments underscore what a lot of people really hate about washington, which is if you're sufficiently rich and powerful and well connected in washington, the laws don't apply to you, you don't get punished. the only people that do are people like bradley manning. the theory that the government used was that he engaged in espionage and helped the enemy because the material he caused to be published on the internet ended up being helpful to osama bin laden. bob woodward has written book after book after book and has become extremely rich by publishing secrets way more sensitive to anything manning ever published. nothing that manning published was top secret, unlike what bob woodward publishes. and yet, nobody would ever talk about bob woodruff the way jeff toobin just did because of his sources and he's in good standing in washington. they leak all the time. washington is all about leaks, but the only people who get punished are people who are marginalized. and that's a broader reflection
of how the law is abused. >> jeff, you do have people leaking all the time. >> you do have some leaking going on. we could have a debate on a case by case basis. but bradley manning released 700,000 cables, including the life's work of a lot of foreign service officers who risked their lives, and the people they talked to risked their lives, to talk to american officials. and the idea that bradley manning has the right, and it was somehow justified in releasing this material i think is just completely wrong. you know, bob woodward is a separate story and unrelated. as far as i'm concerned. >> glenn, does a government have any form to secrecy in their diplomatic cable, secrecy in foreign policy discussions that go on in embassies overseas? because those were a lot of the cables bradley manning released. >> the government has limited rights to secrecy, but it is so wildly abused. the idea, the argument that people made when these diplomatic cables were released,
well, there's nothing really significant or newsworthy in these cables, well, then why were they all marked secret? the reason is because the government just marks everything secret. the thing most bizarre, anybody that would go into the field of journalism and call themselves a journalist who would call for the prosecution and imprisonment for bradley manning is baffling. what he did is the job of journalists, which is to bring transparency to what the government is doing. even the pentagon admits that its early claims how he has blood on his hands and there was all this damage was wildly overstated. he released very low-level secrets that informed the u.s. government and it harmed nobody. >> but it's not up to bradley manning to make the decision to disclose this. the people who wrote those cables have devoted their lives to trying to make the world a better place, particularly foreign service officers.
maybe you disagree about that, glenn, but i admire the foreign service a great deal. and, you know, i trust their judgment about what's a secret a lot more than i do bradley manning's. >> right. and, look, jeff, you can make that argument in every leak case. people in the '60s said daniel elsberg was a traitor. who was he to decide what should be leaked to the public. but what he did was expose systematic lies in the part of the u.s. government. in the bush years, whoever told dana priest of the "washington post" that the they had secret cia operations or whoever told "the new york times" that the bush administration was spying without warrants, what ride did they have to disclose secrets? this is how investigative journalism works is people inside the government with a conscience when they come forward and disclose it through journalism. if you think that's criminal, you're essentially calling for
the end of investigative journalism. what is what investigative journalism is about. >> look, i appreciate your education to me of what journalism is, but released 700,000 cables in a completely blunder bust way is not the same work as bob woodward. >> how about daniel elsberg? >> he also wrote the pentagon papers. he disclosed what he wrote, which is very different than bradley manning disclosing hundreds of thousands of cables that he didn't even read, much less write. >> but, glenn, you don't know that he didn't read them. >> jeff, glenn makes an interesting point, and it is an accurate point, that when this was all revealed, you had politicians up and down saying he has blood on his hands. you have people in the obama administration say thing is causing cataclysmic damage to national security. and then later on in testimony, secret testimony that was revealed in reuters and other
news outlets, they basically all said, you know what, it was embarrassing but it didn't amount to much. >> i have no doubt that the government officials here overstated the amount of danger. but that doesn't mean there was no danger, and that doesn't mean we don't know fully what the danger was, including the risk -- the fact that many people may not talk to government officials anymore as a result of these kind of disclosures. >> jeff, what legal precedent do you think this sets, if any, for edward snowden? >> a big one. i think snowden will be confirmed in his desire to stay out of the united states, because i think their situations are very parallel in terms of the amount of disclosure that went on. and i think he's likely to face exactly this kind of prosecution and exactly this kind of result and sentence. >> jeff, what do you make of the way bradley manning was treated the way he was held, the conditions under which he was held? >> well, that, as far as i'm aware was an appalling over --
it was too much done. it was inappropriately harsh conditions. but that doesn't justify the underlying behavior that led to the case either. >> glenn, you posted on twitter today, so weird how most people claim i would respect snowden's acts if he hadn't fled don't apply that to bradley manning. explain what you mean. >> so many people say, of course, we need more transparency. and yet they always somehow find a way to attack whistle-blowers. people say if snowden hadn't fled i would respect them. but bradley manning didn't flee. look what jeff said earlier. manning is wrong because he didn't read all the documents he leaked. i can assure you that every single document edward snowden turned over to us he very carefully read bra before he gave them to us, because they're all in incredibly detailed file systems and every document is filed according to topic. so if what jeff is saying is true, which is my problem with
bradley manning, he should be praising edward snowden, yet he isn't. people all contrive excuses to attack anybody who brings transparency to the government unless they're powerful officials in washington. in which case, it's okay. >> i'm not talking about powerful officials. i'm talking about foreign service officers who are on the street in every capital in the world. and small cities around the world, trying to gather information, report it to their superiors. the idea that bradley manning is the only one or edward snowden is the only one who has a conscience and who is decent and has the right to disclose the work of all these people is just absurd to me, glenn. >> glenn greenwald, good to have you on. jeffrey toobin as well. thank you. >> thanks, anderson. for more on the story, go to cnn.com. just ahead, a jailbreak caught on camera. a suspect takes a phone call and hurls himself through an open
the search is on for a man whose escape from an arkansas jail was caught on video. officials say he conspired with several people to plan the escape. right up to the woman waiting in a getaway car. gary tuchman has the story. >> reporter: this man is about to escape from jail. and the ease with which he does it is breathtaking. his name is derrick estell, he's 33 with an extensive rap sheet. theft, burglary, breaking and entry. this past march, he had to be tear gassed out of a building. after he stole a car in arkansas. that brings us to the jail. he was here waiting a court day on his latest charges. he's on the phone, but not necessarily talking to anybody. it's the beginning of his escape plan. >> there were only two deputies in the booking room at that time, and at that time, it's actually also our visitation, sunday visitation for the
inmates. >> reporter: estelle starts running, jumps through a window and lands in the public lobby. it looks like a bad cartoon. he's then followed by a guard, who was caught off guard, and the chase begins. estelle sprints as fast as he can to the parking lot, and so do the deputies. but there's a car waiting. he gets in it. the car allegedly driven by a woman named tamara upshaw. who is now in serious legal trouble, too. the deputy got up to the car as it was pulling out and hit the passenger window, but they got away. this is the car. it was later located without its occupants. so how did this happen? how did a man now considered armed and dangerous get out of jail in less time than it takes to run a 50-yard dash? first, there's the phone call. inmates are allowed to be on that phone, which is in a good place for a potential escape, close to the open window. then there's this man, william harding. he was visiting the jail and the sheriff's office said he's
partly responsible. >> mr. harding asked one of the deputies a question at that time they turned their back to get the information. >> reporter: harding turned into a sacrificial lamb, because while estelle ended up free, harding who was free, is now in comedy. police think harding and the driver of the getaway car aren't the only ones part of the plot. >> seems to be well thought out. evidently there were several individuals involved. >> reporter: but authorities aren't saying much more than that. as everyone here tries to figure out how something that is supposed to be so hard was made to look so, so easy. gary tuchman, cnn, atlanta. $136 million in jewels stolen in broad daylight? a notorious pink pather is to blame. the director of a new documentary called "smash and grab" all about this gang, talk with five members of the pink pather and joins me on her take ahead.
clues in that brazen jewelry heist we told you about. the thief made up with $136 million in jewels at that hotel in cannes. the same hotel where alfred hitchcock's "to catch a thief" was filmed. it's the third gem theft there and it came days after the pink panther gang escaped out of swiss prison. he's the third pink panther to bust out of a prison in just the last three months. according to interpol, the gang is linked to more than 340 robberies in 35 countries. the pink panthers are known for their daring and speed. in 2007, they drove into cars into a dubai shopping mall. and in less than a minute, made off with jewelry worth $1 million. a new documentary called "smash and grab." the director havana markey managed to get five of the gangs to open up about their crimes and the networks they use to fence their loot. she joins me now.
the documentary is fascinating. you track down five of the pink panthers. what was it like meeting them? >> each one was different. each personality is different and each was in a different scenario. one was, i had to go to a deserted war memorial. i wasn't allowed to take a mobile phone and i had to sit and wait for another to pick me up. so there were scary moments. but also some moments that were also extraordinarily relaxed and i couldn't understand that they weren't more paranoid. >> what interested you about this group? >> it's no coincidence that they all come from the same kind of time and place. they were absolutely straight, historical reasons why that part of the world, the balkans was completely criminalized. and why people, in a sense, were forced to turn to smuggling and crime in europe, which then, they were so good at it, it then
snowballed to a global scale. >> you interview, one of the guys called mike. >> it took authorities a long we all depend on each other. those in the inner circle are called family. there's also a chain of command. >> it took authorities a long time to figure out the operational struggle. do they have a completely clear idea of how it worked? >> they are a sort of contemporary crime gang. they're much more flexible than your traditional idea than a mafia. there isn't a straightforward hierarchy. and the numbers grow and shrink depending on what's happening right there. they can disappear and reappear
in different parts of europe. they have hubs all over the place. >> do they know each other? >> most of them tend to come from two particular cities. most of them grew up in different parts of montenegro and serbia, and they all seem to have forged those connections during those conflict periods in the '80s and '90s in the balkans. >> is there somebody at the top? >> people talk about someone at the top, you know, an originator of the panthers, but i don't think he would see himself as sort of a boss figure. there are people that are more experienced than others and people that have been doing it for longer. >> there's some more i want to play from mike. >> i don't know why people spend money on diamonds, i don't suffer from showing off. i have a rolex that's a
souvenir. you know for me diamonds are good cash, nothings. >> it's interesting he keeps a rolex as a souvenir from one of the heists. are they rich? >> i would say that, again, it comes down to the individual. there are some that have sensibly managed to invest their money into real estate or something like that. and they like to show off as the robin hoods that they're bringing back money into the economy where the government isn't. but i think an awful lot of them also invest money back into, say, the heroin trade, and a lot of it is just spent gambling and playing essentially. >> the diamonds i guess are the -- probably the easiest thing or one of the easier things to sell, because diamonds are -- you can take them out of the settings and things like that. but some of the other things that they steal are less easy. >> yeah. diamonds are their main currency. i mean, they steal watches, as well and things like that.
but essentially diamonds are the key thing that they are most professional at and do the best at. mainly because they've got incredible connections to some diamond centers like antwerp which is a huge center for diamond trading. i was lucky enough to meet a contact of the panthers called mr. green who is a fence. he's the person who they take the diamonds to. he gets them recut, he creates completely new certificates of origin for them. and is able -- he then has connections to then sell them back into the clean market. >> it's obviously too soon to tell with this latest robbery that took place in cannes. i mean do you have any sense of it? i mean, does it have the hallmarks of something they might be involved with?
>> it absolutely -- if it was discovered to be a panther robbery, it wouldn't be surprising at all. there are very few people in the world that would know what to do with diamonds that valuable. >> right. >> and how are you going to suddenly resell them? how are they going to disappear? if we don't see diamonds suddenly being found somewhere, chances are, it's a panther robbery. >> fascinating. thank you so much. >> thank you. ahead tonight, a medical mystery partially solved. officials identify the bug they say is responsible for turning a whole lot of stomachs. we'll be right back. i wake up in the morning with no back pain. i can adjust it if i need to...if my back's a little more sore. and by the time i get up in the morning, i feel great! if you have back pain, toss and turn at night or wake up tired with no energy, the sleep number bed could be your solution. the sleep number bed's secret is it's air chambers which provide ideal support and put you in control of the firmness. and the bed is perfect for couples because each side
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"ridicu-list" just ahead. but first, isha sesay joins us again. human error and equipment failure are likely to blame for the explosion at a propane gas plant in central florida last night. that's according a fire official. amazingly, only eight workers were injured. it took firefighters three hours to put the blaze out.
a nearby resident said it felt like bombs were going off. new details about last week's train derailment in northwestern spain. officials say the driver was on the phone with railway staff when the train crashed. he's been charged with 79 counts of homicide. officials also said that data recorders show the train was going 95 miles per hour when it derailed on a curb. that's nearly twice the speed limit for that curb. health officials in nebraska and iowa have linked salad mixes to a stomach outbreak. that have sickened 1 o00 iowans and others since june. authorities are trying to determine where it was sold and under what brand. they don't know if it was linked to a wider outbreak of food poisoning. affecting 15 states. a new gao report on tsa workers found that misconduct cases rose 26% over the last three years to more than 3,000.
20% down from violating security standards such as allowing travelers luggage and bypass screening. and in kansas city, three children, one adult suffered serious injuries when an suv slammed into a car outside a daycare center, pushing the car through the front wall of the building. two children were trapped inside the building for a time but were rescued. anderson? >> isha, thanks. in tonight's "american journey," if you thought there was nothing left to say about the naming of britain's newest royal baby, well, it turns out prince george has opened a window to i very american view. here's tom foreman. >> reporter: the royal decision to call the new baby george is playing well in the uk where that name is popular with many parents. but on this side of the pond -- >> no, not in a million years. >> reporter: one expected mom after another after new york's prenatal yoga center told us george would never make their list of baby names chosen with elaborate care. >> i think it's important, because this is something you'll
carry your whole life. that reflects on your personality. >> reporter: 100 years or so ago, george was a hugely popular name in america. but these days, according to the baby name wizard website, it is barely on the charts, despite two recent presidents named george and a movie star, too. lauren wattonberg runs the website based on her book. >> we've really seen a revolution in american baby naming that no one wants to see ordinary. you hear, i don't want my daughter to be one of four jennifers in her class. while parents want kids to stand out, kids are still perfectly happy to fit in. >> reporter: so while some families may cozy up to pop culture names like katness from "the hunger games," many others are striking a delicate balance. choosing something not too
traditional, and the most popular girl names last year were sophia, emma and isabella. for boys, jacob, mason and ethan. but here is the thing, none of these names is as popular as the most popular names once were because we are collectively choosing from a much wider pool of possibilities. perhaps the only thing that remains constant, picking the right name is still not easy. >> if it's a boy, jack henry. a girl, i have a list 18 miles long, so i don't know. >> reporter: tom foreman, cnn. >> the "ridicu-list" is next.
time for the "ridicu-list." tonight, we have the case of the surprise lawn ornament that showed up in a woman's yard in georgia. i'm not talking about a tasteful garden gnome or some plastic pink flamingos or anything like that. out of nowhere, a giant kentucky fried chicken bucket appeared in this lady's yard. that's right, a seven-foot tall kfc bucket. the woman was driving past her house when she spotted the relic of finger licking goodness and figured she had to be imagining it. >> i thought for sure i was hallucinating.
so i called my teenagers who were at home and had them go outside. >> sure enough, she wasn't dreaming. the thing was actually there. but why? she had no idea where it came from. was it a message from colonel sanders himself? from beyond the grarch -- grave -- could it be a sign from above? no, her land lord bought the bucket and had it dropped off. >> that bucket don't say kfc, it says kentucky fried chicken. that bucket's probably 40 years old. >> i did not notice that. so the land lord plans to kick the bucket up a notch by mounting it on a pole for permanent display. how about that? suddenly, the giant plastic snow globe your neighbor puts on his lawn doesn't seem so bad, does it? living in new york city, we don't have yards. we don't have to worry about poultry signs. oh, wait, we do. cue. >> wow, kenny rogers, finally open. look at the size of that neon chicken on the roof.
[ knock ] [ laughter ] >> what's going on in there? >> what? >> that light? >> oh, the red. yes, the chicken roaster sign across from my window. >> can't you shut the shade? >> they are shut. >> i have to say the georgia woman who now has an unexpected view of a kfc sign is handling it quite well. simply put, she's not sweating buckets. >> too often we need something to laugh about. so i put it on facebook and i'll bring chicken to the next potluck. >> there are other benefits, too. who needs gps when you have kfc? >> it's unusual, but it makes good land marks when people come to our house. you can just say come down to the giant kfc bucket and turn right. >> that is what i call the power of positive thinks in action.
when life throws you a curveball, just make the most of it. we just learned the original recipe for happiness. we can cross that one off our bucket list on "ridicu-list." that's it for us. "early start" begins now. have a great day. ♪ a stomach parasite infecting hundreds in more than a dozen states now a popular produce item linked to the outbreak. whistle-blower or traitor. today, sentencing begins for the american soldier now convicted of spying and passing secret government documents to wikileaks. >> check out a police officer brawl, when a suspect grabs one of their guns it's caught on camera. >> good morning, i'm john berman. >> and i'm michaela pereira. it's wednesday, the final day of july. where has the month of july gone? >> oh, my gash, grab on to july. one day to go.